Red Sox

Here’s what happens when knuckleballer Steven Wright throws a fastball

Steven Wright pitched a complete game in the Red Sox' 5-1 win over the Yankees on Sunday. Kathy Willens/AP

The knuckleball may be Steven Wright’s signature pitch. But it is not his only one.

While the 31-year-old right-hander has relied heavily on his fluttering knuckler during an impressive beginning (3-3, 1.52 ERA, 0.99 WHIP with 38 strikeouts) to the 2016 season, 91 of the 661 pitches (13.8 percent) through his first six starts have been fastballs. According to, his average fastball velocity was 82.9 mph — with a top speed of 87.7 mph and a low of 76.5 mph — and hitters have a .200 batting average against the pitch. The most notable blemish on Wright’s fastball record thus far in 2016 is a ninth-inning homer to Yankees’ Brett Gardner during a complete-game victory in the Bronx.

“I did get him earlier in the game with a fastball,” Wright said of the fastball to Gardner after the 5-1 win. “So I figured he was probably sitting on it. But it’s just one of those things, he still has to hit it. And he put a really good swing on it. And you’ll tip your hat to that.”

Below is a look at the situations in which Wright has deployed his fastball as well as the results it has yielded.

Counts when Wright has thrown a fastball:

0-0: 27

2-0: 13

3-2: 9

1-0: 8

3-0: 8

3-1: 8

2-1: 7

1-2: 5

0-1: 4

0-2: 1

2-2: 1

1-1: 0

What happened to Wright’s fastballs:

Called strike: 33

  • Strike 1: 29
  • Strike 2: 3
  • Strike 3: 1

Ball: 23

  • Ball 1: 7
  • Ball 2: 4
  • Ball 3: 5
  • Ball 4: 7

Foul: 13

In-play, out: 12

In-play, no out: 5

  • 4 hits
  • 1 error

Swinging strike: 4

  • Strike 1: 1
  • Strike 2: 1
  • Strike 3: 2

Hit batter: 1

Hits against Wright’s fastball


  • Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion singled to third baseman Travis Shaw in a 3-0 count with two outs in the first inning on April 17. Final score: Blue Jays beat Red Sox, 5-3.
  • White Sox left fielder Melky Carbrera singled to Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts in a 2-0 count with two outs in the sixth inning on May 3. Final score: White Sox beat Red Sox, 4-1.


  • Blue Jays second baseman Ryan Goins hit a ground-rule double down the left-field line in a 1-2 count with one out in the seventh inning on April 10. Final score: Blue Jays beat Red Sox, 3-0.

Home run:

  • Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner hit a home run to right field in a 2-1 count with two outs in the ninth inning on May 8. Final score: Red Sox beat Yankees, 5-1.

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